US sanctions enforcer defends Iran interim deal to AIPAC

Lew: For the first time in a decade, progress on Iran's nuclear program has been halted, majority of sanctions remain in place.

March 3, 2014 00:57
2 minute read.
lew aipac

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew makes remarks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), at their annual policy conference, in Washington March 2, 2014. . (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


WASHINGTON – US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew defended the Obama administration’s diplomacy with Iran on Sunday, vowing to continue enforcing harsh sanctions against the Islamic Republic until world powers reach a comprehensive solution definitively ending the nuclear crisis.

Entering historic negotiations in Vienna, the US delegation is prepared to accept a limited nuclear program in Iran that “is, and will remain, exclusively peaceful,” Lew said in his speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference on Sunday night.

“This is not a case of ‘trust’ but ‘verify,’” Lew said. “It is a case of ‘verify everything.’” In the meantime, the Treasury Department – which enforces US sanctions law – will continue to enforce “the most sweeping, the most powerful and the most innovative” financial penalties in history, Lew said.

“Today, for the first time in a decade, progress on Iran’s nuclear program has been halted,” he said. “The vast majority of our sanctions remain firmly in place.”

An interim deal reached between Iran and the P5+1 – the US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany – granted Iran roughly $7 billion in sanctions relief in exchange for an effective freeze over much of their nuclear work, while the parties attempt to negotiate a final nuclear agreement.

During the six-month duration of that interim deal, Iran will lose $30 billion in oil revenues alone from continued economic sanctions, Lew said.

Characterizing the Iranian economy as “leveling off at the bottom of a recession,” the Treasury head said critics of the deal were “just plain wrong” in asserting that Iran’s economy was recovering during the deal, formally known as the Joint Plan of Action.

Iran has a 30 percent inflation rate, one of the highest in the world.

“We are well aware that businesspeople have been talking to the Iranians,” he conceded, insisting that the US would response with severe penalties “with speed and force.”

Lew said he had stood by the side of two US presidents as they weighed the deployment of American armed forces. He noted that the US had sent Iran the “very clear signal” that new sanctions would be enforced if diplomacy fails – and that military action would be considered, as well, in order to block Iran from obtaining nuclear arms.

“If the moment comes when we have to use force, the world has to understand that we’ve done everything to pursue diplomacy,” he said.

That international consensus, Lew added, has been key in making sanctions more effective.

“No amount of US sanctions would have the same crippling power as has this international effort,” Lew said.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary
February 22, 2019
Iranian Revolutionary Guard behind cyber-attack on Australia - report